Identification of key proteins involved in the anammox reaction


  • Editor: Elizabeth Baggs

Correspondence: Roger Karlsson, Department of Chemistry, University of Gothenburg, Kemivägen 10, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden. Tel.: +46 31 772 2286; fax: +46 31 772 2785; e-mail:


Bacteria performing anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) are key players in the global nitrogen cycle due to their inherent ability to convert biologically available nitrogen to N2. Anammox is increasingly being exploited during wastewater treatment worldwide, and about 50% of the total N2 production in marine environments is estimated to proceed by the anammox pathway. To fully understand the microbial functionality and mechanisms that control environmental feedbacks of the anammox reaction, key proteins involved in the reaction must be identified. In this study we have utilized an analytical protocol that facilitates detection of proteins associated with the anammoxosome, an intracellular membrane compartment within the anammox bacterium. The protocol enabled us to identify several key proteins of the anammox reaction including a hydrazine hydrolase producing hydrazine, a hydrazine-oxidizing enzyme converting hydrazine to N2 and a membrane-bound ATP synthase generating ATP from the gradients of protons formed in the anammox reaction. We also performed immunogold labelling electron microscopy to determine the subcellular location of the hydrazine hydrolase. The results from our study support the hypothesis that proteins associated with the anammoxosome host the complete suite of reactions during anammox.